Profiles of 10 saltwater environments, with portraits of select wildlife and audio soundscapes.
Washing up in the wake of World of Forests (2019), this equally flaccid effort surveys, in no particular order, marine settings, including the depths of the Marianas Trench, a Cornish “rockpool,” and the fresh/saltwater mix of Florida’s Everglades. For each locale Grace and Hunter offer a general description, six to eight recognizable if not finely detailed images of local wildlife crowded together, and notes on sounds that each one might make. These are supposedly reproduced in a quick sequence of fragmentary and only rarely distinctive hoots, howls, scrapes, clicks, grunts, and splashes activated by pressing a designated spot on the page. The notes range from perfunctory filler (sea gulls have “lots of different calls”) to a bald claim that the crown of thorns starfish produces a ringing noise through “an electrical signal from its eyes” that really needs more explanation. Furthermore, the animals are not drawn to scale, and land dwellers such as the poison dart frog (included in a spread about Brazilian coastal waters) and the Sumatran tiger (Indonesian island waters) are, at best, outliers in a cast of marine creatures. The sound chip is powered by three replaceable button batteries; there is no on/off switch.
A lackadaisical series also-ran with a poorly produced gimmick. (Informational novelty. 7-10)